I just installed Fedora Core 3. Now what?

Fedora Core 5 users:
Please visit the Fedora Helper page for information on easily installing "forbidden items," such as MP3 support, DVD support, Win32codecs, Java JRE, etc.

The following is a list of steps I performed after completing a "minimal" installation of Fedora Core 3 to attain what I consider a "usable" desktop system. Depending on the type of installation you chose, some of these steps may be unnecessary.

These steps include:

Create a local user account

I was not prompted to create a local user account during installation, so I had to log in to the system as the root user, create a local user account, and assign a password to this local account.

useradd hutch -c "Brandon Hutchinson"
passwd hutch

Configure sudo

The sudo ("superuser do") utility allows an unprivileged (i.e. non-root) normal user to execute commands with root privileges. It is good practice to only run commands as the root user when absolutely necessary. By running root commands with the sudo utility, we are less likely to commit errors that could cripple the system than if we had a full root session.

As an example, instead of performing:
/bin/su -
command_to_run_as_root

We will run:
sudo command_to_run_as_root

In this example, my local user account is hutch. Substitute your local user account accordingly.

To configure sudo, run /usr/sbin/visudo and add the following at the bottom of the /etc/sudoers file:
hutch   ALL = NOPASSWD: ALL

Login with your local user account

Type exit to logout of your root session. Login with your local user account.

Import the Fedora GPG key

The RPM packages provided by the Fedora project are digitally signed. To verify the digital signatures of these packages, you must import the GPG key into your RPM database.

sudo rpm --import /usr/share/rhn/RPM-GPG-KEY-fedora

Configure yum mirrors

By default, yum is configured to choose a repository for Fedora base packages and Fedora updates from a "mirrorlist" of all Fedora mirrors. The problem with the mirrorlist is that a geographically distant mirror may be chosen, possibly resulting in extremely slow download times.

I recommend choosing a geographically close mirror from the Fedora mirror list and configuring yum accordingly.

In this example, I am using the ftp://mirrors.kernel.org/fedora/core/ mirror.

Example:

sudo vi /etc/yum.repos.d/fedora.repo

Change:
mirrorlist=http://fedora.redhat.com/download/mirrors/fedora-core-$releasever

To:
#mirrorlist=http://fedora.redhat.com/download/mirrors/fedora-core-$releasever
baseurl=http://mirrors.kernel.org/fedora/core/$releasever/$basearch/os/

sudo vi /etc/yum.repos.d/fedora-updates.repo

Change:
mirrorlist=http://fedora.redhat.com/download/mirrors/updates-released-fc$releasever

To:
#mirrorlist=http://fedora.redhat.com/download/mirrors/updates-released-fc$releasever
baseurl=http://mirrors.kernel.org/fedora/core/updates/$releasever/$basearch/

Update your system

There have likely been many security fixes and updates to the Fedora packages since the CDs (or DVD) were created. Run the following command to update the packages on your system.

sudo yum -y update

Reboot the system

The yum update command above likely installed a new version of the kernel. You may confirm this by running rpm -q kernel; if multiple lines are returned, a new kernel was installed.

This new kernel may contain fixes for security vulnerabilities. To be safe, reboot the system to begin using the new kernel. The new version of the kernel should be the default choice of the grub bootloader.

Add third party repositories to yum

Because of legal reasons, Fedora Core cannot include packages that support MP3 and DVD playback. Third party repositories, such as dag, dries, and freshrpms, provide these and other useful packages.

I will add these three repositories to my yum configuration.

sudo vi /etc/yum.repos.d/dag.repo

Add:

[dag]

name=Dag RPM Repository for Fedora Core

baseurl=http://apt.sw.be/fedora/$releasever/en/$basearch/dag
gpgcheck=1

sudo vi /etc/yum.repos.d/dries.repo

Add:

[dries]
name=Extra Fedora rpms dries - $releasever - $basearch
baseurl=http://apt.sw.be/dries/fedora/linux/$releasever/$basearch/dries/RPMS/
gpgcheck=1

sudo vi /etc/yum.repos.d/freshrpms.repo

[freshrpms]
name=Fedora Linux $releasever - $basearch - freshrpms
baseurl=http://ayo.freshrpms.net/fedora/linux/$releasever/$basearch/freshrpms
gpgcheck=1

Packages provided by these repositories are digitally signed. You must import their respective public keys to use the repositories.

dag:
sudo rpm --import http://dag.wieers.com/packages/RPM-GPG-KEY.dag.txt

dries:
sudo rpm --import http://dries.ulyssis.org/ayo/RPM-GPG-KEY.dries.txt

freshrpms:
sudo rpm --import http://freshrpms.net/packages/RPM-GPG-KEY.txt

Configure yum to run as a nightly service

To automatically update your system nightly with the latest security updates and packages, you may run yum as a service.

sudo /sbin/chkconfig yum on
sudo /sbin/service yum start

Install the K Desktop Environment (KDE)

Since I chose the "minimal" package group selection when installing Fedora Core 3, I do not have the X Window System installed, nor any window managers or desktop environments (i.e. GNOME or KDE).

To install KDE along with its myriad dependencies, I ran the following command:
sudo yum -y groupinstall KDE

I could have installed GNOME instead by running the following command:
sudo yum -y groupinstall "GNOME Desktop Environment"

Other lists of package groups may be listed with the yum grouplist command.

Start the X Window System

Type startx to begin a KDE session. You may have to start the xfs service with sudo /sbin/service xfs start if you receive the following error message when running startx:

Fatal server error:
Could not open default font 'fixed'

Install additional applications

I installed several additional applications from a terminal window (Alt-F2, xterm). You may combine the package names on the command line to save time.

Example:
sudo yum -y install xmms xmms-mp3 xmms-skins

Firefox (preferred Web browser):
sudo yum -y install firefox

Mozilla Flash plugin (compatible with Firefox):
sudo yum -y install mozilla-flash

Mozilla Java plugin (compatible with Firefox):
sudo yum -y install mozilla-j2re

gaim (preferred multi-protocol instant messenger client):
sudo yum -y install gaim

xmms (preferred music playback application):
sudo yum -y install xmms

xmms MP3 support:
sudo yum -y install xmms-mp3

xmms skins:
sudo yum -y install xmms-skins

MPlayer (preferred video/DVD playback application):
sudo yum -y install mplayer

MPlayer skins:
sudo yum -y install mplayer-skins

MPlayer Mozilla plug-in (compatible with Firefox):
sudo yum -y install mplayerplug-in

Adobe Reader:
sudo yum -y install acroread

Adobe Reader Mozilla plug-in (compatible with Firefox):
sudo yum -y install mozilla-acroread

OpenOffice.org (office suite):
sudo yum -y install openoffice.org-kde

Install additional MPlayer codecs

These additional codecs are needed to play media such as QuickTime.

cd /usr/lib/win32
sudo wget http://www1.mplayerhq.hu/MPlayer/releases/codecs/essential-20050412.tar.bz2
sudo tar xjf essential-20050412.tar.bz2
sudo mv essential-20050412/* .
sudo rmdir essential-20050412
sudo rm essential-20050412.tar.bz2

Note: you may wish to check http://www1.mplayerhq.hu/MPlayer/releases/codecs/ to see if a newer version of the "essential" codecs is available.

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Last modified: 2006/04/07